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Articles: Research

A sample of slime mold grows clockwise in a petri dish

A sample of Physarum polycephalum sends out slimy, finger-like tendrils to sense information about its petri dish environment.

Image courtesy of Nirosha Murugan, Levin lab, Tufts University, and Wyss Institute at Harvard University

Research

A seemingly primitive creature’s complex ability to detect mass from a distance.

10.6.21

Composite illustration of African American poets Phillis Wheatley, Melvin B. Tolson, Dudley Randall, Gwendolyn Brooks, Yusef Komunyakaa, Paul Laurence Dunbar

Left to right: Phillis Wheatley, Melvin B. Tolson, Dudley Randall, Gwendolyn Brooks, Yusef Komunyakaa, Paul Laurence Dunbar. In the background: On Virtue, written in 1766 by Phillis Wheatley

Photomontage illustration by Niko Yaitanes

Kevin Young’s anthology of African American poetry, from Phillis Wheatley to hip hop

September-October 2021

Namwali Serpell

Photograph by Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The professor of English is also a novelist and a critic.

July-August 2021

Photograph of a carved relief showing orator dictating to a scribe, from the fourth-century Roman Temple of Hercules at Ostia Antica

An orator dictating to a scribe, Roman, 4th century, Temple of Hercules at Ostia Antica

DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini via Getty Images

From a huge new book on the history of information, an excerpt on the role of secretaries

May-June 2021

An illustration of people engaging in vigorous, animated dialogue

Illustration by Robert Neubecker

Active citizens are humanists.

May-June 2021

Braxton Shelley sits at a keyboard

Braxton Shelley

Photograph courtesy of Braxton Shelley

A gospel scholar shapes music theory.

May-June 2021

A collage of emblematic figures in American history set against the Stars and Stripes

Illustration by Alex Williamson.

In a new book, Louis Menand probes the cultural currents of postwar America.

March-April 2021

Photo of the entrance to the Peabody Museum

Peabody Museum

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Daderot

“We must begin to confront the reality of a past in which academic curiosity and opportunity overwhelmed humanity,” Harvard president Lawrence Bacow wrote. 

1.28.21

A photograph of art historian Cassandra Albinson next to a photograph of a portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour applying pink rouge to her cheeks

Cassandra Albinson

Photograph by Stu Rosner; Painting: Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1750) by François Boucher/Courtesy of the Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Charles E. Dunlap

A curator takes a fresh look at portraits of aristocratic European women.

January-February 2021